Jobs and work

Whether you’re trying to decide if you should get a job or you want to know how to do it, this guide is for you. It’s full of practical information, such as how old you have to be to work, what a CV is and what you can expect at an interview.  

Is having a job right for you?

There are lots of reasons you might want to get a job. But remember that having a job is a commitment. Usually, you’ll have to agree to work a certain number of hours every week. And it’s important that you get to work on time.

So think about how much time you could work every week. Would you have to cut back on another part of your life so you could work? Would you have less time for socialising with friends or playing sport? If you’re still at school, it’s important to make sure you have enough time for your education. Staying in school means you’ll have more choice when it comes to getting a job in the future.

That’s a lot to think about, so it’s worth chatting to a parent or teacher for advice. And you can always talk things through with a Childline counsellor. Or see what other young people have to say on our message boards.

6 reasons to get a job:

  1. earn your own money
  2. feel more independent
  3. learn new skills
  4. meet new people
  5. build your confidence
  6. get experience for the future.

How old do you have to be to get a job?

You can get a part-time job when you're 13. In special circumstances, sometimes people younger than 13 are allowed to work -- if for example they're performers in TV or theatre.

There are a few rules around having a job. For example, 'light work' that doesn't get in the way of school or affect your health. The law also says that can't start before 7am or finish after 7pm. When it's term time, you can't work for more than 12 hours a week.

When you're 16 you can start an apprenticeship, but if you are between 14-16 years old, you may be able to join a young apprenticeship programme.

When you're old enough to legally leave school, you're allowed to get a full-time job.

Getting your first job

Many young people have part-time jobs so they can start to earn their own money. Your first job could be a great thing to do at the weekend or during school holidays. Some common first jobs you might try are:

  • shop work
  • garden work
  • odd jobs (washing cars, doing household chores for money)
  • babysitting (the NSPCC recommends you should be over 16)
  • dog walking.

You could ask at local shops or newsagents if they have any jobs available. You could also ask a parent or teacher if they know anyone who might be able to pay you to help them with things such as cleaning, dog walking or babysitting.

Don't get down if you don't find a job straight away. Sometimes it can take a little while to find a job, so it's important to keep trying. Try and talk to other young people on the message boards. They might be able to give you some tips on getting a job.

Most schools have a careers service. They can give you advice about getting a job. The National Careers Service for young people is another great way to learn more about getting a job.

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Advice and tips for job-hunting

who can i speak to?

Try networking
The more people you can talk to, the more you can find out about jobs – this is known as networking. Your school may have a careers service, or you could try talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher or family member.

Talk to a Childline counsellor
Get in touch with one of our counsellors using 1-2-1 counsellor chat – you can chat about your ideas and plans.

Share your tips and questions with others
A lot of young people are looking to get their first job. Or their next job. You can find plenty of support and share experiences on the your future message boards.